Jawbone is a new and exciting London-based four-piece band. Beginning as a collaboration between established solo artists Paddy Milner (keys/vox) and Marcus Bonfanti (guitar/vox), the band was joined by the renowned Antipodean rhythm section of Bex Horan (bass/vox) and drummer Evan Jenkins.
Taking their name from a track on The Band’s eponymous second album, their range of influences extends beyond a handful of bands such as Little Feat, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and The Band. This band has a unique sound focused on delivering strong songs. Each member of Jawbone is a respected musician in the industry. They have played with everyone from Tom Jones, Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Ten Years After, Van Morrison, Robert Plant, Dave Gilmour, Ginger Baker, Ronnie Wood, Shuggie Otis, Laura Marling, James Hunter, Phil Manzanera, Garth Hudson, Jimmy Carl Black and many more.
The distinctive voices of Paddy Milner and Marcus Bonfanti compliment and contrast throughout the songs as they share lead vocal duties on the album. Rex Horan’s searing falsetto vocals create the three-part harmony that has become a hallmark of the Jawbone sound. Opener “Leave No Traces” has a definite New Orleans roots/rock feel, Milner and Bonfanti alternating vocals perfectly. “Get What You Deserve” has a funky/swampy feel, owing a little to the aforementioned CSNY, great harmonies and keyboard work. One of my favorite tracks is “Family Man” which features Paddy’s beautiful, warm vocals, complete with a catchy chorus.
There’s so much going on musically, the big production on “Bet On Yesterday” I find stunning, complete with Tex-Mex trumpets. I suppose the closest we come to a blues tune is the fascinating “Rolling On The Underground”, complete with perhaps our first guitar break of note. The slide on “Big Old Smoke” compliments Marcus’s vocals with his tale of growing up and returning to his birthplace, London (the ‘Smoke’). Just when it seems we’re on a roll, we have the Milner-led ballad “Sit Round The Table”, referring to sharing troubles, like sharing bills, brilliant. Album closer “The Years Used To Mean So Much” again has a Band feel to it, with its poignant harmonies and vocals.
This album is, in the eyes of this reviewer, a masterpiece in songwriting, musicianship and harmonies. This coming from a person who thrives on the louder, guitar fueled blues/rock genre! Give this album a chance, it’s a welcome break from tradition.
The Review: 9/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Leave No Traces
– Family Man
– Rolling On The Underground
– Big Old Smoke
– Bet On Yesterday
The Big Hit
– Family Man
Review by Clive Rawlings